Very interesting post from MacRumors.com, on the perceived evolution of Apple’s customer base, to-wit,”consumers want what we don’t have”.
As new players enter the market, the customer’s needs change, this is inevitable in any free-market and it’s something that Apple used to be very good at despite all the dogma that, “Apple abhors focus groups, and doesn’t listen to it’s customers.”
Take the iPod for instance.
The iPod started of in as much the same way as the iPhone, a very expensive, albeit limited answer to a market that already existed.
Over time, new models were introduced, the hardware got a lot cheaper, and every single market niche was eventually filled, from the music-mad (100g+ iPod classic for all your songs), to the teen with limited cash, (the iPod mini/nano), onto the bargain-basement little iPod shuffle.
The iTunes store gained traction and ALL the hardware from the high end to the low-end was serviced by the iTunes store.
To the point we are now at where the competition to the iPod doesn’t exist, it’s been destroyed, other than extremely cheap devices that are little more than USB sticks with a few extras.
Game, set and match.
You can argue that the bottom has fallen out of the iPod market, now that the iPod touch fills most of what remains, however all the iPod line is still on sale.
So why hasn’t this happened with the iPhone?
Where is our iPhone mini or nano?
Where is our iPhone shuffle, or the candy-bar phone equivalent?
While we’re at it, why can’t developers write apps for the AppleTV?
Why doesn’t Apple view the iPhone market, in the same way the viewed the iPod market?
It would certainly work, the AppStore is perfectly capable of servicing every model of iPhone, with apps that can only run on certain hardware, (you can’t view videos on an iPod shuffle like you can on an iPod classic for instance).
Lot’s of why’s, very little answers.
Looking at some of the internal memos that have come out from the Apple / Samsung trial, it’s clear that there’s a struggle going on at the top of Apple, in what they stand for, what markets they should service, and what their profit-margins should be.
It’s clear that Apple needs to get focused and act like a start-up, like they used to.